Dining Out With Baby – Recipe for Disaster?

Enjoying his patio lunch

Baby H was a trooper this long weekend.  We dragged him around to various lunches, BBQs and dinners out and he was great throughout.  However,  things weren’t always this rosy.  We’ve most certainly been those frazzled parents with a crying baby, dishevelled and wild-eyed trying to flag down a waitress.

Coupla things we’ve learned.  We are always armed with Baby Mum Mums or puff cereal, his own dinner so he doesnt feel left out while we are eating, various toys, his own booster seat that we keep in the trunk for impromptu meals out, TONS of wipes and most importantly – a zen attitude and the willingness to ‘Take it to go’ since things can turn on a dime!

Even with all of the above arsenal, you never really know how things will turn out.  I’ve never been one to mind a screaming baby in a restaurant so much, but I’m ultra sensitive to his vocalization (which, I might add, is LOUD) nowadays since becoming a parent.  Usually people are very accommodating but you definitely get the odd evil eye now and then.

It also depends on your baby’s temperament and general mood.  If he hasn’t napped, is teething, ill or generally grumpy its probably a good idea just to order in and call it a day.

Next, its usually good to do a little reconnaissance and ensure that the place you’re going to is child-friendly.  Trying to hit up a trendy lounge on a weekend probably isn’t the best idea.  We’ve found success going to busy places at off times – eg. patio lunch just a tad earlier than regular lunchtime so you can snag a great shaded spot and Baby has primo people-watching positioning!

We went to a great spot in our old neighbourhood Roncesvalles during the weekend which, though on the small side, actually worked out really well since we could take Baby out when he was bored and walk him along the busy street.  It was also Family Night so there were other kidlets running around which made it all the more fun.  Another baby-friendly suggestion is dim sum (already loud and hectic so a yelling baby goes relatively unnoticed).

We’ve defnintely figured out through trial and error alot of the tips above.  And our biggest lesson has to be not to force the issue if we know Baby H is overtired.  We’ve always loved eating out and its terrific that we can still do so with babe in tow.

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